What the alchemists then realized was that the metals became impure when taken out of the fire and left over time. In their frustration over their inability to create eternal purity the alchemists gave up their quest and went to drinking.
One of the alchemists began to reconsider his hopelessness. He started to think about his work and he discovered that though he could not create eternal purity he could create beauty through the metals in the fire. He then put down his beverage and went back to the laboratory.
The alchemist took great pleasure in the beauty he could create. However, it began to remind him of the most beautiful thing in the world, a young girl. He became depressed at the thought that he had sacrificed that beauty for his work. He then went back to the the other alchemists who were hopeless drunks.
The alchemist knew that he could have neither the purity he wanted nor beauty he wanted. So, he figured what was there left to do except through himself in the fire. But just as he was about to toss himself into the flames the alchemist remembered that neither he not any other alchemist would see the beauty of his destruction or the temporary state of total purity that he would obtain. As he was about to step away and reconsider his decision he lost his balance and fell, becoming engulfed in fire.